Wide Awake Heart Surgery
Feb 02, 2017
A miniature heart device implanted under the chest skin in just 45 seconds is providing a new lifeline for builder Joe Riakos, 51, from Earlwood.
Riakos, who has previously had thyroid cancer and also has had surgery for a leaking heart valve, was recently implanted with a Loop Recorder after being plagued by unexplained episodes of syncope (dizziness, sweating, pulse and blood pressure drop).
The device, which is also MRI compatible, is roughly the size of a paper clip and monitors the heart’s rhythm for abnormalities.
Any “abnormal” data is the wirelessly transmitted back to the treating physician once a day – providing 24/7 monitoring of the patient.
“In the past, these patients could typically visit their cardiologist every three to six months – this way any heart episodes can be monitored very quickly and picked up no matter what they are doing,” says Riakos.
“It was done under a local anaesthetic while I was awake so no side effects. I also have a little remote control which I press if I feel faint or dizzy – which then transmits the heart data to my doctor. It’s kind of like a garage remote control for my heart.”
Strathfield Private Cardiologist Dr Vincent Khoury said the device also routinely captures abnormal episodes that even the patient may not notice.
“Instead of the patient wearing a Holter which must come off in the shower or pool and only provides short-term monitoring, this device provides 24 hour surveillance for three years and can really help us get a much better picture of heart activity.”